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08/15/2022

Kroger finalizes digital orders with unified commerce platform

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Kroger is supporting e-commerce pickup and delivery at more than 1,000 stores with OneView technology.

The Kroger Co. is ensuring that curbside pickup and ship-from-store orders are processed correctly.

America's largest grocery retailer is leveraging the OneView Unified Commerce Platform to finalize digital orders when those orders are delivered at curbside pickup or via home delivery at more than 1,000 Kroger locations.

"Using OneView's platform, we continue to deliver an innovative associate experience," said Sriram Samu, customer technology VP at Kroger. "The solution helps us create a seamless associate experience through guided processes and simplified training—ultimately reducing our customer wait times."

Kroger fast delivery model
The OneView rollout represents an extension of a partnership between Kroger and U.K.-based online grocer Ocado Group, Introduced in 2018, the partnership leverages a fast delivery “hub and spoke” model relying on a leading-edge automated warehouse concept known as a customer fulfillment center (CFC).

The CFC model combines vertical integration, machine learning, and robotics with affordable and fast delivery service for fresh food. CFC facilities leverage proprietary technology solutions focused on artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced robotics and automation to create more seamless and efficient fulfillment, picking and delivery capabilities for enhanced digital commerce

CFCs serve as hubs for the flexible, vertically integrated Kroger Delivery network, which also includes smaller automated facilities and spoke locations. In CFCs, more than 1,000 robots traverse giant 3D grids, orchestrated by proprietary air-traffic control systems in the unlicensed spectrum. The grid, known as The Hive, contains totes with products and ready-to-deliver customer orders.

As customers' orders near their delivery times, the robots retrieve products from The Hive, which are presented at stations for items to be sorted for delivery via an algorithmic sorting process. For example, fragile items are placed on top, bags are evenly weighted, and each order is optimized to fit into the fewest number of bags, reducing plastic use.

Once completed, orders are loaded into a temperature-controlled Kroger delivery van, which can store up to 20 orders. Machine learning algorithms dynamically optimize delivery routes, considering factors like road conditions and optimal fuel efficiency. Drivers may travel up to 90 miles with orders from facilities to make deliveries.

"We are pleased to support Kroger's phenomenal success in speeding delivery of solutions based on their strategic business transformation priorities and customers' needs," said OneView CEO Linda Palanza. "Their results are a testament to our vision for unified commerce and our platform's power to enhance customer and store associate experiences while enabling retailers to retain control over the development and delivery of new brand-based interactions."

Based in Cincinnati, Kroger operates 2,800 stores, including more than 100 stores in Southeast Texas and Louisiana, under a variety of banners across the U.S., including Kroger, Fred Meyer, Ralphs, Dillons, Smith's, King Soopers, Fry's, QFC, City Market, Owen's, Jay C, Pay Less, Baker's, Gerbes, Harris Teeter, Pick 'n Save, Metro Market, and Mariano's.